Photo by Gonzalo BarrientosAsk any writer about the writing process...go ahead...ask them. Say somethin' like, "Hey you...writer...tell me about your process..."
For every writer you ask, you'll get a different answer. Every writer has his or her own way of going about things. Maybe the arrangement of things on the desk has to be just so. The cup of coffee has to be on the right side or the left side. It has to be 5AM. Or 2PM. Some writers have to wear the blue, hemp "writing" hat in order to get any work accomplished...(so, okay...that's me!) Some writers have to write longhand. Others can only write on a laptop. And others still are die hard old school worker bees and must write on a typewriter.
Oh, my goodness, the list goes on and on. But from what I understand, most writers, myself included, do engage in the dance of procrastination. For me, I am mostly writing these days in the morning. When a good idea comes to me in the night, while I'm sleeping (and it often does) I'd better get my butt up and write down the idea, otherwise it is lost forever. I've tried to talk myself into believing that the idea is SO good, so lucid, that it will be there in the morning. It never is. NEVER. Maybe a remnant of the idea, but only if I'm lucky. I'm usually not!
I can think of a million things to do that have nothing to do with writing prior to plopping down and getting to the task at hand. The funny thing is, once I'm IN it...once I've started, and I'm engaged, I love writing. Don't get me wrong, it's hard as hell. Mostly rewriting is hard. Writing is fun. Rewriting is ARDUOUS. I love that word. That's why I do this. I love words.
Photo by Billie HaraIf you want to write for a living, then you have to treat it like a job. A job you love...but a job nonetheless. You can make your own hours, you can write whenever you want, where ever you want. You can wear your pajamas, or your sweats or a suit and tie for that matter. But you need to set goals, and be disciplined, and write EVERY SINGLE DAY! It's like exercise. You have to do it every day to see results. To get better at your craft. Sure you need a break now and then. So take a break...I'm not stopping you. But it's essential to keep those wheels greased!
There are tons of books out there on how to write. But I say, if you want to write, don't read about it...DO IT! If you do want to hear what the pros have to say, here's a couple of suggestions:
- Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. Even if you don't want to be a writer, you should read Anne Lamott. She's amazing, adorable, humorous...I love her. Read everything she's ever written. You'll be glad you did.
- And of course, I must recommend my main man, Mr. Stephen King. His book On Writing shoots from the hip. He tells it like it is, doesn't sugarcoat it. Before I die, please let me meet Stephen King and thank him for the hours of reading pleasure (and terror) he has given me. But in On Writing, he was very much my teacher, and there is no finer teacher than the master himself!
Thank you for your attention during my diatribe. Now write me a comment...that's a good way to get started!